Meteorologists are warning the midwest of continuing fire weather conditions. Warm weather will persist until a cool air change tomorrow.
Parts of the Midwest are expecting warmer temperatures and high winds to continue through Thanksgiving Day. Dry air and wind gusts are causing concerns for fire weather conditions to last. The regions’ severe lack of rain is another catalyst for large fires.
These warnings are for parts of Texas, Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, and New Mexico. Today, temperatures in these states are well-above average. The Santa Ana Winds are also expected to make a comeback this weekend. Weather Nation suggests that “Wind gusts will remain between 40 – 60 mph in some of the valleys as the wind sinks over the higher elevations. These winds could help spread fires rapidly.”
Fire risks are larger around the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles, Weather Nation also reports. Winds between 20-40 mph are gusting into these areas today. Falling humidity rates do not help the situation either. In Colorado, humidity levels are between 8-12%. The dryness of the Santa Anas need more than twice these humidity levels to allow for safer conditions. Because of this, a Red Flag Warning for the Eastern Mountains, Fremont County, and the I-25 corridor is in place until 5 pm time tonight. This warning can continue if conditions remain unchanged.
Luckily, it appears that cooler air will return tomorrow, on Thanksgiving day. Higher humidity rates and rain showers are expected to follow. That is something for the midwest to celebrate on Turkey Day.
Fire Weather Preparedness
If you are living in a high-risk area, it is important to be prepared and mindful. The Red Flag Warning place in Colorado tells civilians to avoid outdoor activities that could cause new ignitions and sparks to be created. More specifically, do not start campfires, burn trash, or throw cigarettes outside. Outdoor equipment such as lawn mowers should not be used either. These create a higher chance of sparks.
If you see smoke in your area, please report it immediately. Call 911 if you see an unattended fire as well. Establish an emergency water source in case of emergency and have an escape plan. Firefighters are also needing specific instructions as to where to find and access your home. If this occurs, be as clear as possible and do not panic.
“Conditions will be conducive to the rapid spread of new fires. Probability of ignition will increase. Avoid any burning or outdoor activities that may cause sparks, and abide by established fire restrictions,” the warning says.
With a plan in place, midwesterners are ready to batten down the hatches. The Weather Channel and local news coverage will offer more information on an hourly basis.